Do Hurricane Harvey Victims Have to File Insurance Claims Before September 1?

Contrary to some mistaken reports…a new Texas law does not prevent policyholders from having their day in court, nor does it prevent consumers from hiring legal counsel.

Contrary to some mistaken reports and inaccurate social media posts, a new Texas law (HB 1774) – intended to put an end to plaintiff lawyers’ opportunistic storm chasing – does not prevent policyholders from having their day in court, nor does it prevent consumers from hiring legal counsel.

“As we continue to deal with this devastating storm, we want to reassure consumers that our members are ready to settle claims fairly and as quickly as possible,” said Fred Bosse, vice president of the southwest region. “There has been a lot of misinformation that has gone out about claims. The truth is that this new Texas law applies to lawsuits, not claims. When the rain finally stops, we encourage affected policyholders to contact their insurance companies directly to file claims, coordinate with their adjuster to identify all damages and coverages, and work toward a speedy recovery.”

HB 1774: What stays the same?


  • The process of filing an insurance claim has not changed.
  • The new law does not take away any right to sue and does not diminish any cause of action that a person has against an insurance company.
  • Consumers still have all legal remedies available under the consumer protection laws.
  • The Texas Department of Insurance is available to handle any complaints about insurers

HB 1774: What does the new law change?

  • The new law modifies the punitive interest rate, from 18% to 10% — still twice the normal judgement interest rate set in the Texas Finance Code. This change was made to discourage unscrupulous lawyers from trying to slow down the claims recovery process.
  • The new law also makes a change if a claimant wants to sue their insurer. Starting September 1st, insureds are required to notify their insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit. This change will give companies and their customers a final chance to communicate and, hopefully, avoid litigation. The pre-lawsuit notice is effective for all “actions filed on and after the effective date, which is September 1, 2017.” Any lawsuit filed after September 1, 2017, will be governed by the new law.

If consumers believe that an insurer is not meeting the terms of their policy, they should contact the Texas Department of Insurance.

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The American Insurance Association (AIA) is the trade association for today’s leaders in the property-casualty insurance industry. Our members work each day to protect the American Dream, whether that’s a house, car, business or otherwise. Now more than 150 years old, AIA has an unparalleled record of advocating on state, federal and international issues for insurers and their customers.

Our membership is comprised of more than 320 companies, collectively writing more than $125 billion in premiums each year.

We have the experience of a veteran organization coupled with the innovative ideas that drive our industry forward. AIA is leading the insurance industry into the second half of the 21st Century… today.

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